The Space Race is On!

by Elizabeth Dukes on October 26, 2016

We like to keep our finger on the pulse of the Digital Workplace, and the workforce. That’s why we issued a survey across social media to connect with workplace leaders like you to find out what are the forces – now and in the future – that are driving the changes in the office. Nearly 200 people participated and here’s what we found: the_space_race_is_on_email.jpg

When we asked FM leaders “What are your current technology needs?”  the overwhelming response was space occupancy use (72.4%). We know that after payroll, real estate is often a company’s #1 expense. The ability to smartly use, expand and contract space is the most critical job of the FM, and his/her CFO. What’s interesting is that energy optimization (51.3%) came in second. While prices at the pump may have fallen, increased electrical use, interest in solar and alternative energy and new tech tools for reducing energy costs are top of mind. Finally, it seems that analog conference room scheduling (45.9%), is going the way of the dodo. Workplace leaders want automated methods for scheduling their conference and collaboration spaces with easy and accountability.

What Are Your Current Technology Needs?

Which takes us to our next question, “How are things changing in your workplace?” Well, 63.2% said that they’re experiencing higher tracking and reporting needs to plan for the future. Clearly, it’s not enough be efficient – it’s important to track all elements of the workplace to create short and long-term strategies for the future. And it’s no accident that with better tech tools, come more requests for accurate, real-time data. Now, with the right SaaS software in place, workplace leaders can make this goal a reality. Reporting needs were followed by higher mobility needs, i.e., every must be done from a mobile device (59.4%), and constant special change, i.e., downsizing or upsizing (49.7%). It’s interesting how these three items go hand-in-hand. As space expands or contracts, workers need more mobile options to use their facility wisely – whether on the road, working from home or communicating with the facility to do their jobs more efficiently. Everyone wants tools that work as flawlessly as their iPhone. With more data about how the workforce works and the tools they need to succeed, leaders can better plan space usage down to the dollar per square foot.

How Are Things Changing in Your Workplace?

When asked, “What do you think is driving this change?” 61% said cost savings, followed right behind with mobility of the workforce (57.3%). We know that these forces will continue to dominate the workplace, until mobility is treated like a “must have” instead of a “nice to have” for all of its workers. Most interestingly, many respondents thought that the force driving this change was also rooted in the growing collaboration needs for all groups, instead of just a few (51.8%) and the workplace becoming more people-centric (49.1%). We’re thrilled about this last point. Making the office feel more centered around its people is central to any business’s success. Giving workers the tools to do their jobs better will mean attracting and retaining more satisfied workers who in turn build better companies.

What Forces Do You Think Are Driving This Change?

Finally, we wanted to know, “How has your job or expectations of you changed?” Over 66.4% said they have more responsibility and greater customer needs than ever before. And 64.3% said there is an expectation of constant innovation.

How Has Your Job or Expecations Changed? 

So with these growing demands and constant change, how do you keep up? Are you using platforms that connect with energy optimization, wayfinding, sensors and beacons, or even the systems used in HR and IT to make your life easier? A full 44.3% said that the definition of FM has changed from maintainer to planner. How will you shift in your role from back office to boardroom?

We’re grateful for your feedback on this survey. Now we you know where you and your peers stand, we would love to hear your thoughts about how you’re taking the next steps from maintainer to planner and the forces that are driving you every day.


Elizabeth Dukes

Elizabeth Dukes' pieces highlight the valuable role of the real estate and facility managers play in their organizations. Prior to iOFFICE, Elizabeth was in sales for large facility and office service outsourcing firm.

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